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Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 10:17am
seanmn's picture
Joined: 10/01/2003 - 09:00

My mother usually comes to visit us, ever since my son has had PA. He has never been there without me or my DH. We usually just go to her house on holidays or during the summer a couple of weekends. She lives an hour away.
I guess yesterday I had just had it. It has been a very stressful year with my DS and myself and I am just sick of dealing with other peoples stupidity and finally blew up. I just had my DS to the doctor for a CT Scan for headaches. His doctor wanted to rule out cancer. What next for him?! Plus, I have gone through my own medical problems. I had to have a hysterectomy in January because of fear of cancer and I had to have a few operations before that. So, to make a long story short, it just angers me to no end that I have to keep defending my actions to family members who think they know more than me. I am just mentally exhausted with all of our medical issues while everyone else and their kids are healthy. It makes me wonder what I did wrong.
My mother, well my whole family, has a way of twisting your words around and making it sound like they are the victom or are being bothered.
Yes, everyone in my family has a dog. Yesterday, at least they either had the dog locked up or chained up.
Thanks for everyone's support, it has helped a lot.
Yes, I am waiting for my mother to call or e-mail today, it has not happened. I am not about to give into her again. If she want to talk to me, she will have to make the first move. I am not going to cave in this time. Whenever I am around my family they make me feel like a little kid again unable to make a decision without their opinion.
My other concern is that my 2 year old DS will be exposed without me knowing it. I can just see him picking up a peanut and eating it that someone dropped on the floor.

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 10:51am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

seanmn, okay, it was the "straw that broke the camel's back". I can well understand why now. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
I understand about you being emotionally exhausted due to health stuff for you and your children.
This past eight months or so have been absolutely horrible for my children and I. We've gotten through it, and continue to do so, but when days or weeks go by even and my phone never rings, I sometimes feel as though no one cares whether we live or die. Seriously. And it is such an "alone" feeling that I can't even begin to explain unless someone else has been through something similar.
My SIL has twin daughters who just turned 11.
The one twin, who came out second, they thought she was going to die (I'm not clear why, it was "before my time"). The little girl should really have had some physical therapy to help her motor skills on one side of her body (both her arm and leg are affected). My SIL has never tended to that.
Yet, when my MIL is in one of those moods, which come and go, I'm always the one who looks like BAD MOMMY even though I have had every physical ailment of my children's taken care of and dealt with.
My SIL will remove herself from her Mother. It's not done for any *good* reason, i.e., the safety of her children or a life and death situation. It's because my SIL, who is a middle-aged woman still cannot get over things that have happened to her when she was a child, oh so many years ago. When she's "in her cups" or whatever, things come to a head and she completely cuts herself off from her Mother (my MIL) for months at a time.
They just reconciled for a short period, only to have things blow up again this past week.
So, she's not a terrific example because she's removing herself from her Mother because she herself needs to "grown up" and "get over it" but I really think, if you can (and it does take a lot of strength), you may want to look at re-examining your relationship with your Mother.
I know that at one point in time, and hey, it's not a proud thing to post about, but I didn't speak with my Mother for four years.
I believe at the end of the first year, near Christmas, I went to my parents home and tried to patch things up, because family is family, and only learned how my Mother had used our separation to tell my Father some things that I should have been the one to tell him, if anyone.
That was a very long time ago, pre-children, different marriage, etc. but I do know that for that period of time, for whatever reasons I felt I needed to be separate from my Mom, I did feel better.
If you're going through enough stuff of your own, you really don't need very difficult family dynamics entered into the mix at all.
A personal question and you don't have to answer (but perhaps it will be helpful to answer it in your head), how were your Mother and even SIL when your son had to go for the catscan or you had your surgery? Were they supportive? Were they *there* for you?
Now looking back at the four years that I didn't speak with my Mom, I don't think we were the same people as we are to-day. I can't imagine not speaking with her for four years. However, I can always tell that there is something there perhaps in the background, just always left unsaid, because I can still feel so alone (or maybe feel that my sister is always The Golden Child no matter what the wicked wench does [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img] ).
I've posted this before in many different threads and perhaps you have read it. Although I am divorced from my first husband, my first marriage worked very well and ONE thing was really important to that. If either one of us were having difficulties with our parents (or say my parents had something crappy to say about him or vice versa), we stuck together, as a unit, and just basically said sod off.
So, although four years was the longest time I went without speaking with my Mother, there were many a year that we weren't speaking with either his parents or my parents or both. We made our lives/life together and we stuck to that. That was a marriage without children and without a life at stake.
Is your husband being supportive? Would he be okay with you if you chose to give your Mother the "peanuts or us" words? Would he stick by your decision, basically, so that the two of you could stick together?
If you look at one of KarenH.'s threads, it's about her parents, in Off Topic, and you can see how her and her DH's marriage works and how they are united when it comes to addressing the difficulties they are having with her parents (and again, not about PA, not about a life and death situation).
I have ended toxic friendships before but I have always found it very difficult if the relationship was a toxic one within family to "end it" effectively. I always go back for the sake of the family. And you know what? It's complete wimping out on my part.
I've also posted about the toxic friendship that I ended. I was alone with the two kids in the one horse town and I had one friend that I always knew was up late when I finally got my quiet time. She was long distance but whatever. We would talk on the phone almost nightly for quite a long period of time because I had moved to some place where I didn't know anyone. But after each phone call, I would feel crappy. Or maybe not every phone call, but 99% of them.
Finally, I had received some information from a magazine (a popular women's one that I wouldn't normally buy like Glamour or something) about toxic relationships and I realized that my friendship, was, in fact, toxic.
I finally ended the friendship. Did I miss her? Certainly. But after some time, I also realized that I didn't feel like crap anymore. I wasn't allowing her to make me feel that way anymore.
I'm not saying that you should cut ties completely with your Mother. I really believe strongly in family ties. But what I am saying is that because you are in touch so often, it is going to be very very difficult, hard, and hurtful. But you can come through the other end of the tunnel. I do know that.
I'm hoping these posts haven't been too spacey for you. I understand what I'm saying, but I'm not sure if I'm wording them clearly enough or not that other people can actually understand as well.
And I am really worried about moving closer to my SIL (not only PA related, but a LOT of things - I'm kinda hoping it's like the last time we lived almost around the corner from one another and we chose NEVER to see one another, or really, she chose not to see me, something to do with me not drinking [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] )
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 12:37pm
toomanynuts's picture
Joined: 08/23/2003 - 09:00

We dealt with this with family as well. It can be difficult. We had to step back and not participate in a lot of family activities for a while. Then I think they finally understood under no circumstances were we going to another family gathering if there were nuts. Well, they got it - Now they make sure it is extremely safe when we visit and it has actually been quite nice. They serve safe foods and the house is very clean and everyone has a great time.
Families are wonderful and no matter how much they love us they sometimes don't understand and it takes awhile or a bold act to get them to that place quicker.
Just don't give into them when it comes to the safety of your child. Sure they can tell you how to cut your childs hair or what you should be doing about this or that but you have to be the one who is in charge of your little ones allergy and you have to be the one that sets the boundaries.
I don't have a simple answer but maybe you could just bring up the nut issue with your mom - no other issues- and just say I know that you understand the allergy but could you please just for the time we are together not have nut products around. Eat them when we leave. That way you don't have to worry if she kisses/touches your little one or that an accident could occur.
Honestly, it feels much safer when the nuts are just not around.
I wish you the best with your mom and family and hope that all is well today.
You are a good mom don't let anyone put you down for protecting your child. Whether they have seen a reaction or not is not the point the point is you want to keep your child from a reaction and you should do everything in your power to do that. Be brave and stand up for yourself and your little one.
Take Care.

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 1:30pm
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

My daughter had lots of medical problems too. LOTS. There was a period of about a year where I truly don`t think we ever went more than a week or two without seeing a doctor (neurologist, geneticist, allergist, gastroenterologist, etc). Please don`t blame yourself! That has nothing to do with you, and it sounds like you are a great mom. I can tell you that making all those doctor visits and spending part of the day at the hospital for tests is exhausting.
About your mother, there are two schools of thought here. One is that your mother doesn`t get it, so educate her more. The other school of thought is she CHOOSES not to get it, and it is not your obligation to defend your reasons for not wanting your child there with the peanuts being served. I am of the second school. I have encountered people who truly chose not to get it. They were intelligent educated professional people (you can get a master`s degree but you can`t understand that peanuts can kill my child----yeah right!). So it is hard to say which applies to your mother, but based on the hair cut story, I would go with the school of thought she chooses not to get it. So if she is like the people I have encountered who choose not to get it, she will try to engage you in discussion after discussion about this, putting you in the position of feeling like you have to explain. So my advice is you say the thing I mentioned in the above post, and then when she asks your reasons or says is it really that dangerous, or how you will hurt so and so`s feelings if you don`t go, or everyone will be there, then you just repeat your one sentence "yes, we would love to go, but of course since it is unsafe for ______ we won`t be able to." And you repeat that sentence over and over. It takes practice not to get sucked in by these people. But I had all my experience with the horrible brownie leaders (I posted in 2003 about this), and I learned that that is what works. You repeat the same sentence over and over, and do not engage, because what they want is for you to engage so you don`t do it! It is sad that it is your mother. I know that is really hurtful---she should be the one who is supporting you not undermining you. But I say stand your ground. Just repeat over and over, "yes, we would love to come, but since it would be unsafe for _______ of course we cannot".

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 4:29pm
Lindajo's picture
Joined: 10/14/2003 - 09:00

Seanmn, I don't think you were a terrible parent at all! You were just doing what comes naturally, protecting your son.
I had a similar situation on the 4th. We have gone every year to my DH's cousins summer house for a cook out. The drive is approx. 2 hours away. They know about DD's allergy but I still check everything out when we get down there and it's always been OK. It's the usual fare, hamburgs, hot dogs, fruit salad and I usually make a dessert that I know my DD can enjoy and feel safe.
This year I made homemade choc. chip and sugar cookies. She was hungry on the ride down before we arrived so we thought we'd stop at Wendy's and get her some food so she wouldn't be starving when we got there. Like I said, it's always been OK. Well, we get there and there on the table was little cups of peanuts! I was shocked. She's never had those before. I pushed them out of the way and DD (she's 9) made sure she stayed away from them. I was like her bodyguard where ever she went! Luckily, no one ate them. She stayed safe. I thought about leaving, but we had just driven two hours to get there (lame excuse, I know) and she was all excited to see her cousins. So DH and I made sure we watched her like a hawk.
Did I say anything? No, and I'm mad at myself for not speaking up. I don't know why I didn't. I felt that if I stayed with her constantly, she'd be OK. Now, looking back at it, it was probably like playing Russian Roullette. We stayed on her, and somehow, I felt that kept her safe. (Please don't slam me for my actions. Looking back, I definitely would've acted differently).
So, I really don't think I'm going to make "mother of the year" any time soon. But, that's ok, as long as my DD and the rest of my family stays safe.
(I'm really having a worrisome day today!!)

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 7:58pm
lalow's picture
Joined: 03/24/2004 - 09:00

I know it is very hurtful when family members who claim that they care about you and your children make descisions that are contrary to you and your childrens well being.I am sorry you have had to go through all this the last few days. When I am in situations like this I try to just remember that it is a persons right to do what they want. If they just have to eat peanuts.. fine.. but it is my choice as to whether we will be around them. I would just tell her that as much as you want your child to know his grandmother and have a close relationship with her... that relationship out of necessity will be limited as long as you dont feel he is safe around her. You have to protect your son. We cant really control everybody and situation in our children's lives but we can control where we go and how we react. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2004 - 1:14am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Well, LindaJo, I think you still can make Mommy of the Year award! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] After a two hour trip, I, personally, wouldn't have been able to say, "I'm outta here" and I think that you and your DH (and daughter) did the best that you could. You watched your daughter and you watched what people ate (or didn't eat - the peanuts).
Also, your daughter is 9 and I do think age makes a difference. Not that it is okay for people to be serving peanuts, but she's more aware of her allergy and it's not like she's a toddler that may have grabbed one of the cups of peanuts.
Is there any way that you could speak with the cousin that had the family gathering now and just say something like "what was up with the peanuts at the family gathering? That's never happened before and I was quite shocked, uncomfortable and downright nervous".
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 07/08/2004 - 3:08am
seanmn's picture
Joined: 10/01/2003 - 09:00

Well, I still have not heard from Mommie Dearest! Like I said, I am not going to cave into her this time. If she wants to talk to me or find out about the kids she will have to get in touch with me. You would thing she would have called right away to apologize, but she is still playing the victom.
I also sent SIL an e-mail telling her why we left and for a final explanation on DS's allergy.
I sent an e-mail to another SIL who was at my Mom's that night that I did not see. They went there for the fireworks.
Needless to say, I have not heard from any of them yet. Oh, well, it is their loss!
Yes, my DH is supportive of me and was the one who suggested we leave and not stay at my Mom's house. He said she has to learn sometime. I have been bending my own rules for her, but no more. I am going to stick up for my child no matter who agrees with me or not. If they don't like it they don't have to be around us.
Thanks for all your support.

Posted on: Thu, 07/08/2004 - 8:36am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

seanmn, sorry to hear that you haven't heard from your Mother yet, but that playing the victim thing can be so enticing for some people. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] I know my MIL does it with her daughter (the wicked SIL) and they'll have a fight and both of them are so stubborn that neither one will pick up the phone for MONTHS.
MIL thinks it's the SIL's fault. SIL thinks it's the MIL's fault.
Some people like to live with that kind of drama going on. Personally, I have enough stuff going on day-to-day that I can't be bothered for such b/s.
I'm glad that your DH is supportive. Really, if you think about yourselves as your own family unit, onto itself, and stick together that way, then you're stronger to deal with situations and people (unfortunately and sadly like your Mom). But as long as the two of you are together on the matter, I think that's what's most important.
One of the greatest difficulties I have with current DH is that often we don't "stick together" on major issues. He'll very often cave when it comes to things with his Mother, and not even PA related.
That's why I really think I remember so vividly how DH #1 and I dealt with family *issues* because it's not the same as how DH #2 and I do and I really wish it was.
However, this isn't about me.
If your Mom is like anyone else that I have seen "play the victim" this could go on for months and you may not have to worry about it for some time. Kinda sad to say but also something to cross off your list of worries as well. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 07/08/2004 - 11:16am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Seanmn, I am with you 100%! Your first responsibility is to keep your child safe.


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